Audi is working on its own self-driving car program, and it’s advertising the project with a very cute, slightly poignant commercial about a Tyrannosaurus rex who is depressed because his tiny arms are too short to do anything — but with piloted driving, he doesn’t need to be able to reach the steering wheel. Everybody wins!
It’s a pretty funny little spot, but while self-driving car technology is believable in 2016, there were some aspects to the ad’s depiction of Tyrannosaurs that just seemed fishy.
Professor George D. Stanley, Jr., director of the University of Montana’s Paleontology Center, tells Inverse there’s one major problem with the depressed dino:
“The Tyrannosaurus was way too small.”
An adult T. rex stood up to 20 feet tall and 40 feet long, far bigger than the one in the commercial. The one in the ad couldn’t have been a young T. rex, Stanley said, because then it would’ve been “proportionally all different.” Babies, he explained, have huge heads compared to their bodies. This T. rex just looks like an adult, but “miniaturized.”
What about the little T. rex arms, the source of his misery? Stanley said Audi’s was missing a finger. “All dinosaurs have three fingers,” he said, noting that T. rex’s third digit was vestigial, but certainly present.
However, there were other parts of the commercial’s depiction of a T. rex that were on the money. Like the part when T. rex is cooking.
“Its forearms could press 300 pounds,” he said, adding that, although that’s pretty weak for a dinosaur, “it could certainly flip a pancake if it could get ahold of it.”
The T. rex also was depicted with lips, which is accurate.
The best part of the depiction by far was the speed of the dinosaur. Tyrannosaurus didn’t move that fast in real life.
“That part is pretty good,” he said. “Scenes in Jurassic Park where it’s chasing down a Jeep are just plain wrong.” Perhaps that’s another reason why T. rex was so psyched to ride in a car in the commercial — it’s much faster than he normally runs.
There’s still one problem with the ad, and it’s a real bummer for the T. rex, especially since Audi’s piloted driving made him so happy. Stanley says that even a Tyrannosaurus as unnaturally small as this one would probably weigh two tons.
“It would crush a car,” he said.